Kolkata: Mohammad Shami may not be available for Bengal's knock-out leg of the Ranji Trophy but the talented India speedster ensured that his statemates get some quality net-practice ahead of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Railways starting Wednesday.
"It's very good to have Shami with us before the match. The batsmen are getting good practice with Shami bowling at the nets. His heart is always with the team, even when he's away. He keeps enquiring about us. He's also getting good practice by being with us in this short break," senior pacer Ashok Dinda said about Shami.
It's the same team against which Bengal players refused the customary handshake as they conceded three points in a controversial manner after Railways skipper Murali Kartik 'Mankaded' Sandipan Das. But Bengal showed amazing resilience with home and away wins against Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to storm into the quarters.
Dinda said they had forgotten what happened in the league match in New Delhi and were looking forward to seal their semis berth. "After a long time, we're into the Ranji quarters, there's nothing to look back from here on," Dinda said of Bengal who last played quarters in 2007-08 when they lost to Tamil Nadu.
"We've completely forgotten our league match against Railways. We've played two matches after that and have reached the quarters. Our focus is currently on the three remaining matches, beginning with the quarters." Dinda said "We've played Railways this season and we're getting the services of Wriddhiman Saha. The momentum of the side is very good with two back to back wins -- one at home and one away."
High on confidence, Dinda said they knew the wicket inside out having beaten Uttar Pradesh in a match the Bengal pacer returned with a 10-wicket haul. "Confidence level is very, very high. We're playing on the same wicket we had beaten Uttar Pradesh. We know the wicket -- how much it will swing or bounce. We'll definitely look forward to the home advantage.
"I've been bowling well this season. I'm happy with my performance. Definitely, I'll look forward to a brilliant spell in the last match here." Dinda said the Railways would not be as united as Bengal as it was a team of different units.
"Unlike our team, Railways are not a side who play together as a unit. They bring together players from different units, so the friendliness among them would be missing." With 27 wickets this season already, the out of favour India pacer was looking forward to play as many matches in 2014. "Resolution 2014 would be to stay fit. The more matches I play, the better would be for me," he added.